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The Communicators

News/Business. People who shape the digital future.

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00:30:00

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San Francisco, CA, USA

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Comcast Cable

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Channel 91 (627 MHz)

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mpeg2video

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ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

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480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Sandy 8, Us 7, Manhattan 4, Bryson 3, Robert Mudge 2, Mr. Christopher Guttman-mccabe 2, Christopher Guttman-mccabe 2, New York 1, Syria 1, New Yorkers 1, China 1, Fios 1, Ctia 1, You Look 1, At&t 1, Landline 1, New Jersey 1, Washington 1, Dominique Chu 1, Mitt Romney 1,
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  CSPAN    The Communicators    News/Business. People who  
   shape the digital future.  

    November 26, 2012
    8:00 - 8:30pm EST  

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>> coming up, a look at how wall street is preparing for the fiscal cliff. our guest is dominique chu of "washington journal." in a few moments on the communicators from a look at how hurricane sandy effective emergency communications. in 40 minutes, it chief justice john roberts on the supreme court and constitutional law. and while looking at china's political and economic and military power, and another on the situation in syria.
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>> one of the major effects on hurricane sandy was on telecommunications. that is our topic today on "the communicators." christopher guttman-mccabe is our guest today. mr. christopher guttman-mccabe, overall, what was the effect of hurricane sandy on your organization, verizon, sprint, at&t and etc. >> guest: thank you. i wouldn't mind taking a step back and providing a little perspective on this storm and the impact it had. mayor bloomberg said that the damage was unprecedented. but it may be the worst storm that the city has ever faced. and the previous title search, it was 14 feet. governor chris christie said the damage was unthinkable. we have buyers. we had hurricane force winds. we had massive flooding and if
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you look at that in the flooding of the subway system and the shutdown of the stock exchanges, you start to get the scale and scope of this form. and yet, the networks perform. i have read dozens of stories over the last couple of weeks about how the many consumers, they are only tied to any sort of information through their smartphones. making social media and their smartphones. while there was obviously an impact, i think the networks performed really pretty well. >> host: cell towers -- were they hurricane proved. >> host: i think it's important to note that when you say 25% were impacted, that doesn't mean 25% of service was impacted. some of them are capacity based. but a lot of them provide basic
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service. so it doesn't mean service was down by that much. obviously, some were impacted. and our powers are relied upon. each one can have an impact on whether or not that power is up and running. i think we found out what hurricane sandy, that the split was about even. some was a lack of power and we are not talking power in ours. we had people without power for days and weeks without power. yet we were able to get generators in there, get additional fuel. making sure that we got them a pretty quickly. as an industry, i think that you saw those numbers, you know, they went down on the and the day after that they went down and we saw creative efforts. some of them linking networks together and others really getting fuel very quickly out of the generators. so i think there were a lot of
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folks that were able to utilize this, despite the two airlines were not working. >> host: mr. christopher guttman-mccabe, if we could talk about this issue. a lot of people have kept these landmines for emergencies. it appears right now that it looks like the wireless phones were more reliable than the fiber optics and non-copper type of wire lines. >> guest: sure. the reality is, again, we are talking a storm of biblical proportions. it had an impact and it also had one on the subways and all transportation and bridges and tunnels. this caused a lot of impacts.
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part of this is the efforts to be position and make sure they have backup power in place. in instances where they could, they brought in satellite trucks actually use and avoid satellites and keep the network up and running. >> host: how did they affect the interoperability. >> guest: there were two steps. very few of them went down. they had a nice backup power and plays, they consolidated so they didn't have a lot of areas that they really had to protect. so we saw that it worked well. i think that the mayor's office
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talked about send text messages when you can. use text messaging whenever you can. otherwise, use texting for your data connection to gather information. >> host: of the spectrum get flooded with information and overloading? >> we found this out whenever you have an issue where there is a lot of people who need information. you find that the networks really get flooded. i saw up to 15,000 increases on some websites. and a lot of the applications, those that gave the access information, or the mobile flashlight. we saw a lot of people downloading it. i didn't see numbers that
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suggested that there was a significant amount of called walking were dropping. i think the networks handled the search pretty well. >> we are taking this interview on november 15. i was in lower manhattan last night and had a lot of trouble connecting on my ipod and cell phone. is that still due to hurricane sandy? >> yes, there are still areas in the boroughs that don't have power. in those instances, using 100,000 gallons of fuel a day. that is just one carrier with 1500 generators are going. so there will be a time. back before we get back up to low capacity again. but that is not for a lack of trying. it's important to remind people that the folks that run these companies are also actually consumers and family members. their goal is to make sure that these networks are up and running. i think the ec that. some employees and their houses were destroyed.
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they moved into company corners and they moved into the storefronts, they are running their operations and it is in effort when you have a storm of this magnitude, to get everyone back to the status quo. >> host: the fcc recommendations, last week on a blog post, it was said that eight hour mandated backup power would not have been feasible because of the storm. >> guest: if you think of the storm and you can visualize the storm as it approaches the coast, the storm wasn't even through the areas when the eight hours had passed. many people lost their power and the storm was still hitting them we are talking 360 to 400 hours
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without power. when you look at the context of a backup requirement, logically it would not have been so. what we saw with the industry was the ability to react flexibly and be able to move assets in and read we locate areas that were not hardheaded and to utilize resources in a way that makes networks run well. i think if you look back at hurricane katrina and the recommendations, those recommendations were before the flexible framework. that is what we were pushing. we did not disagree with the goal to keep the networks running. of course we do. it is in the industry's best interest. it's how you go about doing this. for us, when you look at a storm of this magnitude, it is having the ability to react. carriers that had put in thousands of feet of power cable
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to drag cable up to the rooftop. so that we can have these sites work. >> host: what have carriers on to be more reliable in emergencies? >> guest: we put towers and unchurched peoples and on the side of buildings in major metropolitan areas and, you know, in closets within buildings. and it becomes difficult and areas to help that backup power. yes, they try to put in batteries were they can't put in generators. they put it in with as much fuel as they are allowed. but when you are working with building codes and zoning restrictions or environmental laws and imitations, you know, you have to work within those confines.
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they want something with every natural disaster or storm the weekdays. how much fuel the unique, they learn how to work with fuel vendors so that they have these hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel and they learn how to coordinate with first responders in advance and before and during and after. we meet with the amount and advance of a storm like this, leaving up while it's happening, we have multiple calls to make sure that the folks have the right credentials and place to be able to get through blockades the public safety put in place. so the investment is ongoing and it is tremendous. >> host: what is the cost of the storm to your member organization?
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>> welcome it's not something that i don't think anyone really looks at. i think they look at it as part of, you know, making sure that the networks are up and running, that consumers continue to get help. it is obviously important in the context of the companies continuing to operate. but it pales in comparison to keep the networks up and running >> host: will consumers see a rate increase? >> i don't think so, but we generally don't focus on those sorts of things. but again, when you look at the efforts and the desire to keep the networks running, that is something that is paramount. >> finally, if you attend, if they have an oversight hearing and look at this issue of telecommunications, what is your top line for them? with you when you tell them?
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>> guest: again, we share the same goal is to make sure that the networks are up and running. and i think it would be a matter of maintaining and ensuring that there is education and the people understand the scale and scope of this disaster. the networks actually performed very well and that they were up and running and they are working with government officials to make sure that people have access to fuel what is necessary and they are not subject to parking restrictions or restrictions on high occupancy vehicle lanes that, you know, the fuel is confiscated in certain areas. new york and new jersey did a great job. >> host: christopher guttman-mccabe is regulatory affairs ceo on at ctia.
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joining us from basking ridge, new jersey, is robert mudge, who is the president of consumer and mass business markets for bryson. what was the overall effect of hurricane sandy on bryson in the northeast? >> guest: i would like to talk about how much my heart goes out to the customers and other people from the storm. it has been great to be out with our employees. especially to see people coming through together. this was an impassable storm. as you know, it hit us right in the middle of our operating area in new jersey and came out with a path that was 1000 miles wide. it impacted us in our physical distribution and our pools and her cables, as you might expect,
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from the wind and storm surge. and in our central office facilities. our backup power process really had to kick in and carry over 300 central offices that were impacted at the peak of the storm. >> host: how many folks lost power? has everybody got their power back on? if you could please speak to that? >> yes, based on the width of the footprint, we had five and a half was 6 million customers who lost power folks really felt the impact and we felt that on the central office site as well. at the peak of the storm, we had over 1 million customers out of service. the power came back and most of that service was restored and now, a couple weeks later, we are doing the final touches on the physical replacement. in many cases, we had to work
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with or go in after where power was restored and we were safe and it was able for the workers to work safely. one of the lessons learned was that we were very resilient and we had good success with that network. we also had other very important impacts and many people were aware of the impact on southern manhattan where the storm surge actually took out the power plants from both west street and broad street in the central offices, which is on the southern tip of manhattan. we had almost 300 others. all of those offices are back one way or another. we have a handful that are on our generators, including broad street. my partner and i, tony malone, we expect to be back on commercial power within a matter of days. >> host: mr. robert mudge, are
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there limits to technology when it comes to this? 40% of americans are now landline less. they don't have a landline, they just have cell phones. >> guest: even at the heart of the storm, our wireless network was operating at 94% capacity. we argued back to full capacity pre-store. so i think that many people, not just through the telecommunications, but with the power outage, learned and found out the electricity is very important along with telecommunications. i think it's a reminder for many of our customers that good wireline service is very helpful. because they can help offset each other. >> host: the so-called triple play packages offered by bryson and others, do they have the
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same reliability as the old-style telephones for the copper wires and etc.? >> guest: i think there is a little bit of a difference, but by and large, we have seen that fiber is more resilient than copper. it will impact fios, so there can be emergency calling. going back to your other point, there is a crossover with wireless usage. the ability to make an emergency caller reached a loved one. the internet and tv usage is impacted more broadly than just telecommunications. but again, we really found that once we got power back, we actually returned service back to our fiber customers quicker than we have with some of our other customers.
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the copper customers. i happen to be in long beach just the other day and i think it is a really good example. community with about 16,000 customers. our copper wires are still trying to be repaired. 10,000 customers in that community are back in service. so i think that a hurricane is one thing. a snowstorm can be another. they did a thunderstorms. i think the context of reliability needs to be thought through in many different potential offense. not this one, and our data is very clear. fiber is more resilient in the storm and it has greater opportunity for faster restoration. >> guest: i would like you to respond to what jessica moreau morrell said. she said it's time for an honest conversation about network reliability in the wireless age.
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we need to talk about how to make her networks dependable when we need them were most. >> it's an interesting question. if you think about our wireless network, all backed up with battery, mostly generators, if you think about our central offices the lost power again, 300 central offices, we actually have commercial power and batteries and generators in preparation for the storm, we had starting generators topping off fuel in a few locations. and so i think it's a fair question and one that i'm confident that we have already asked and we will continue to ask and there will be room for improvement. we want to continue as we get better and manage power. i am very comfortable with where we sit today and how well we have come through the storm. >> host: what has been improved
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since katrina in 2005. >> guest: i was thinking a little bit about 9/11. part of what has improved, peter, is we ourselves are resilient. we know how to handle major disaster. and i think going through 9/11, it toughened up the entire team. i think it also reminds us that we have a very fast company here with access and networks across wireless traditional wireline fios, that provide normal services in times of recovery, they really give us the power to respond to customers faster. i also think if we go back, making sure that the backup power works and it's reliable, we run it on our generator, sometimes weekly, and we are prepared and we plan for these
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outages. so i think that has been a strong reminder as well. >> host: about 25% of cell towers when out in the area. "the wall street journal" recently wrote this paragraph. in the wake of hurricane katrina, the fcc tried to require backup batteries at all cell phone towers. but wireless carriers, successfully sued, arguing that they needed flexibility in how they provided backup power. are the cell towers for brides and backup? >> guest: yes, they have battery backup. most of them have an emergency generator on them. i put that, again, from a factual standpoint, even at the peak of the storm, with the power outages that we have along the coast, 95% were operating.
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we were close to 99% within a matter of today's, two days, and we are back to full service right now. >> host: in a press release that bryson sent out, you talked about telephone poles and how many telephone poles you had replaced. nearly 8000. what is the cost of that. >> it is quite a cost. we are still adding up the cost. we are not really coming for -- this is not the time for us to be focusing on anything but getting the polls in quickly. we pre-purchased these for the storm. we have a network and customer base that i managed and it cost in the millions. i really don't have a number yet that we have in total. but it will be substantial.
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>> guest: a typical telephone pole can run up to $700. it literally depends on the width of the pool, and the height of that pool. the. >> host: finally, what happened in lower manhattan. you talked about the flooding in the power going out in your network. is there a thought of moving those facilities out of lower manhattan? >> at this time, peter, there really isn't. the issue is really power related. our telecommunications gear stayed intact and was operational. where that entire area lights, all businesses were overwhelmed and with the unprecedented storm surge. as we rebuild that area, we are relocating and we governing our records to be with the power network. so some of the cases where we had our power plants below grade
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level or at ground level, we are going to, when we are done with this, we expect to have a lot more copper in the ground, which is more resilient than we have one that will be more able to handle a storm surge like that. >> host: robert mudge is consumer president for verizon. you're watching "the communicators" on c-span2. >> host: as we continue our look at the impact that hurricane sandy had in the northeast, we are joined by harold feld, senior vice president of the group public knowledge. he has talked to the ctia and verizon. both groups, wireless service, they particularly did well during hurricane sandy. what is your assessment? >> my assessment is some
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networks did well and others did less well. but we don't really have solid information because there is no reporting requirements of these requirements. there are no standards to measure performance. it is voluntary whether they want to talk to the fcc for their state and local governments are not. so i think that we take their word for it. they responded well and i had also heard that some of these guys, i think the first step is we have to find out who did well and who didn't and how we make sure that everybody is doing. >> host: how we make sure that everyone is doing well? >> guest: back during the election, mitt romney was in the primary and they can delegate stuff and then hurricane sandy hit and everyone said that in an emergency, having federal
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coordination is good. when you don't want to take the time to pick it up from scratch, that's good. we have delegated to the private sector all of our emergency response for cellular networks and these new, what we call ip networks or cable phone service like bondage. when it comes to the old copper networks, we know all about that. we have crews on call, cell power, reliability built into that from day one. that is why new yorkers were scrambling. we don't need to take the old rules from the ma bell days, but we didn't have the federal government and the state government taking a look at what happened. they need to figure out what are
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the ground was? what are the things that you want to have in place before an emergency hits? one of the things that you need to be doing before a crisis so that when a crisis hits, everybody is operating on the same page and everybody is moving as quickly as they can and they are able to do the best job that they can destroy critical services. >> host: somebody who is involved in media access products for years, what do you think the starting point should be for mandated service for mandated rules? >> the starting point is actually that we need to take a look at what has happened. that means the first mandated thing is you're going to sit down and tell us honestly what happened. it can be a private conversation with regulators, but don't be glossy, don't tell us how wonderful it was and forget the fact he didn't have enough for whatever it was.
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tell us what worked and what didn't. the next step from that, everyone should file an emergency preparedness plan. and that ought to be with the federal communications commission and with the state emergency responders. so that we need in all what the assessment is of how strong the network is and what is in place so that the 100 year hurricane heads, we have all been hearing, we will have a lot more of those hurricanes hitting. so everybody knows what the plan is. it will support the companies to go through and have a plan rather than just our plan is to really hope that we get 99 figures. as the public of the federal communications commission goes, that way we know what plan is in place. ..